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Old 07-17-2014, 01:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Madison
Posts: 31
Newbie: TT or 5th wheel

Okay. I am 10 years or so from retirement. We are in the planning stages of getting our first camper. The DW grew up camping in a pop-up, I was a tent camper until the 1st wife was pregnant with our third. So ... I will need a TV that will also be my primary commuter. My research tells me a diesel is out of the question due to the very short commute, 15 minutes, and shorter grocery runs. So I was looking at a 2500 to pull a sub-13,000 lb FW. Now my research is telling me a 2500 is silly compared to a 3500 as there is very little difference. (I was also wanting the less stiff ride offered by the 3/4 ton vs the 1 ton model.) Therefore, I don't see the economics of a 2500 gas mileage wise as a commuter. So ... A 1500 or 1/2 ton is starting to make more sense. However, I don't believe any 1/2 ton is capable of hauling a 5th wheel. I see 1/2 ton towables touted in Trailer Life, but when I look at the hitch weight, I don't believe it, unless my DW stays home with the dog. And we carry no cargo.

So now I'm looking at TTs for the sake of a somewhat economical 1/2 gasser while I'm still a daily commuter. After much looking, we've locked in on a rear kitchen floorplan ... No bunkhouse; any kids or grands that join us can sleep in a tent "). We were drawn to the rear kitchen units after seeing a coleman model with a double slide that really opened up the living area. We really liked that style. I'm liking the Jayco Eagle, particularly the 5th wheels as they come standard with the Mor/Ryde suspension that I'm sure rally helps keep the pots in the drawers. I'm not sure if the Eagle TTs have the same suspension.

So, am I wrong thinking that a 1/2 ton is the way to go? I really hate giving up the idea of a 5th wheel as they really appeal to me from a creature comfort stand point. When we retire, we do plan to upgrade to a full-time fifth wheel model and a 1 ton dually diesel TV. But by going with a 1/2 ton now, am I locking myself into a TT? Or is there a 3/4 ton gasser that has a decent gas mileage rating when not towing?

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Old 07-17-2014, 01:36 PM   #2
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I have a Sierra Denali 1500 with a 6.2. I would not keep it if I went to a 5er. I personally think 2500 is the size for that. A 1500 with a 5.7 is great for a TT but I believe some 2500s won't hurt too bad with fuel anyway. I am thinking about a 2015 2500 Denali- which is over kill for my TT and my wife says it is just a testosterone boost for me. She is right lol.
I did test drive a 3500 Denali 6.6 and loved it. But diesel cost, service etc outweighs a truck that could eventually run for 300000 miles.

If you may upgrade someday from a TT to 5th wheel- 2500 is your best bet.

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Old 07-17-2014, 02:32 PM   #3
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Take a look at the F-150 EcoBoost. Plenty of guys pulling 30' Fifth wheels with them staying within specs. Lots of power and if you get the MaxTow package or Heavy Duty Payload package it's basically a 3/4 ton. Payload ratings in excess of 2200lb and tow ratings over 11,000lb and GCVWR of 17,100lb or more.
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:38 PM   #4
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We had a 1/2 ton Silverado and I traded it in last June and moved up to a 3/4 ton. We own a Jayco 197 and the TV we have may be a bit overkill, but we are going to upgrade to a fifth wheel next year or so. I'm getting about 12-13 MPG while not towing. I'm sure it's a lot less when we are towing.

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Old 07-18-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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I went from a 2013 ram 1500 to a 2014 ram 3500 cummins and couldn't be happier. It is my dd also. That being said, it rides rough on rough roads for sure. The only half ton I would even consider attempting to pull a fiver with is the f150 ecoboost with max tow package. These r very hard to find..normally have to order them. Their payload ratings are around 2000 lbs or a bit more (my ram 1500 payload was 1061 for comparison).

All that being said, after towing with a half ton and now a diesel 1 ton, the difference is night and day and I personally would not tow a fiver with a half ton. Most average size fivers will have 1600-2000 lb pin weights...you can do the math....not to mention the frames brakes and suspension on hd trucks r built much heavier for towing. Those that say their half ton "tows it like it's not even back there" are either lying to themselves or have never towed with a hd truck.....because the difference is that large
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:59 PM   #6
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You have thrown out a lot of things to think about here.

We picked our 2nd trailer because it has three distinct areas, living, bath and bedroom.
If you want to sleep, dw can be in the living area with the TV on and you won't hear it because the bath is a sound buffer. Also the large rear window is great if you are overlooking the lake you are backed up to.

I agree 5th wheels have too great a pin weight for 1/2 tons.

EcoBoost engines have had a lot of problems and I can't think that a 3.5 litre engine will have a long life pulling a trailer, not to mention the expense of replacing a turbo or two if they should crap out.

Pick out a trailer with a floor plan that you are happy with. How much storage space do you need. Just going out weekends or are you going to tour the country?

Since you are starting from scratch pick out the trailer or 5th wheel you want and then a truck that will safely pull it.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your search!
2012 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Litre DoubleCab
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:02 PM   #7
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I agree with gtsum2. I don't believe that a 1/2 ton truck should pull a fifth wheel. I have owned 3/4 ton trucks in the past and now drive an F150 Ecoboost. Although I absolutely love the Ecoboost, it would no business pulling a fifth wheel. I'm sure there are plenty of people who might dispute that, but I wouldn't be comfortable with it.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:21 PM   #8
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Truthfully, if you look at the payload capability of any half ton and then look at pin weights of fifth wheels, add in wife(in many cases lots of weight ) dog, everything else in truck, etc... The payload is usually exceeded. Not a big deal? Well transmissions, brakes, etc are engineered around the payload. Exceeding it may work for a while, but in the long run the truck won't hold up.

You can upgrade TV, then trailer, then TV again or you can just get a suitable TV for the long hual. After many upgrades we finally just settled on getting a F350 SRW diesel. Wish we would have done it before any of the other upgrades because it probably would have saved some $$$. It's more then we need but it pulls great. And as far as the short commute, not a big deal. My wife uses it as an everyday driver while I'm on the road at work. About 8 miles each way. No problem. Warm it up... And let the turbos cool a bit. Every now and then I take it for a drive and go fishing and let it REGEN. If you don't mind upgrading in a few years, then get a half ton and a fifth. If you want to buy a truck and keep it for a while, go all the way. I know a lot of people who have done what I did and upgrade one after another. Buy a good TV and trailer options are endless. Short commutes really aren't a prob with diesels. So long as you maintain them properly they'll run forever.

And for what it's worth, my 2013 F350 rides smoother than my 2009 F250 did. Whether its a 3/4 ton or 1, it's gonna be a rougher ride. But I wouldn't trade my truck for anything. Also, my buddy has a 6.2L F250. It gets terrible milage. Don't know about GM, but I get about 13-14 pulling. He gets 9-10.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:19 AM   #9
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About 2 years ago I started looking at trailers that would be suitable for "full-timing". I ultimately decided on the Eagle 266RKS (26' rear kitchen with slide-out refer/sofa/wardrobe), and started looking for a suitable tow vehicle. I found my 2011 F-150 Ecoboost w/Max Tow, and knew it was the truck to get. It was returned from a 2-year lease by someone who had used it to tow a 5th wheel (I saw the receiver bolt holes in the bed floor). Unfortunately, I don't know what the previous owner's towing experience was like, but it was Ford Certified Used, and a Carfax search turned up no issues. I've been very happy with it for over a year, now, although you can forget about Ford's advertised 22mpg. I get about 17 highway/12.5 combined. That's about what you would expect from most 1/2T gassers. As others have said, where the F-150 Eco-boost really stands out is 1) ride, 2) towing/payload capacity, and 3) acceleration. You may want to consider my TV/TT combination as a starting point. You may have to do some searching for each, since the max tow package is hard to find, and Jayco stopped making the Eagle 266RKS after the 2014 model year. But the search my pay off for you, as it has for me.

Down the road, if you decide to go with a 5th wheel, the truck will still pull a light weight unit (like the Eagle HT), or you could get something heavier/bigger and move up to a 250/350 at that time. Meanwhile, you've had 10 years of enjoyment out of both! Best of luck in your search for the "perfect-for-you" combo. Whatever you decide on, I wish you Happy Camping!
2013 Eagle 266RKS
2011 Ford F-150 w/3.5L Ecoboost & H.D. Tow Package
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:50 AM   #10
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Everyone seems so concerned about blowing a turbo in the EcoBoost... Every diesel truck out there has them too! And the diesels are pushing far more boost out of the turbos than the Eco is. It even gets to share the work with another one. They are Borg Warner produced so quality is top notch, but I definitely let mine run for a few minutes to cool down before shutting down and I run Mobil 1 full synthetic since it has better heat resistance and will not coke like Dino oil can.

I only pull 5500lb max with mine - I have always agreed that you should buy a bit more truck than you need. I know of plenty of people pulling big, heavy trailers with these trucks without any issues. I don't think I would do it myself, but I am extremely particular and compliant with limitations and specs. I have no apprehensions regarding the ability and longevity of my truck. I get 18MPG highway and 10MPG towing. I regularly saw over 20MPG highway before the leveling kit and 33's went on.

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